Cops Kill With Impunity: The Killing of Hunter Brittain

Hunter Brittain's unjustified killing by police is being championed by Rev. Al Sharpton and lawyer Ben Crump.
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Hunter Brittain's unjustified killing by police has been denounced by Rev. Al Sharpton and lawyer Ben Crump.

It was 3 a.m. on a dark stretch of rural highway, and 17-year-old Hunter Brittain and his cousin were test-driving the pickup truck they’d been tinkering with at a local repair shop all night. Brittain, a white teen from the tiny city of McRae, Arkansas, who dreamed of being a Nascar driver, worked all year to buy the old white GMC truck. But the transmission was a persistent problem.

The late-night spin was meant to see if his efforts to fix it had paid off. But according to an account from Michael Davis, a sergeant with the Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office, the car rattled and had smoke pouring from it when he encountered it on the highway and attempted to pull it over. Robert Newcomb, Davis’ attorney, told The Daily Beast his client thought the car might’ve been stolen and damaged in the process. Davis flashed his lights.

Within seconds, Brittain would be shot and killed. And like so many police shootings in the United States, the accounts about what happened in those critical moments differ wildly.

Brittain’s uncle, Jesse Brittain, told The Daily Beast that after being stopped, his nephew got out of the truck, but only to get a jug of antifreeze he kept in the bed to place it behind the tires. The teen had trouble shifting the truck into park, and the vehicle often slipped backward, he said. Brittain explained that Jordan King, Hunter’s 16-year-old cousin who was in the car that night, told the family that no orders from Davis were ever given to Hunter about what to do in those key moments. Instead, Brittain was shot by Davis while he reached for the antifreeze, according to the slain teen’s family. He was unarmed and no guns were recovered from the scene.

“He never made it to the back tire,” Jesse Brittain told The Daily Beast. “He never was told to halt or stop or get on the ground or nothing.”

Read rest of story here.

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